Alicia Keys' Broadway play Stick Fly has failed to win over critics, with many reviewers insisting the production "comes up short" in both its attempt at comedy and drama.
The show, written by Lydia R. Diamond, follows two African American brothers - cocky plastic surgeon Flip, portrayed by Mekhi Pfifer, and aspiring novelist Kent, played by Dule Hill - who choose the same weekend to bring their girlfriends home to meet the parents at their family's Martha's Vineyard estate, off the coast of Massachusetts.
However, when Flip surprises the group by bringing home a white girl, Kimber, the play takes a turn and is filled with heated arguments about class and race.
Stick Fly, produced and scored by the No One singer, opened at the Cort Theater on Thursday night (08Dec11), but the show has failed to meet critics' expectations.
Reviewer David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter has dismissed the show as "scattershot entertainment", insisting the production "lacked emotional substance" and "comes up short as both comedy and dysfunctional family drama".
The New York Post's Elisabeth Vincentelli blamed the show's "sluggish" direction by Kenny Leon for its shortfalls, while the New York Daily News' critic Joe Dziemianowicz echoed the same sentiment, stating the nearly three-hour show "could benefit from some tightening".
Keys didn't escape criticism either - Rooney claimed the singer's "transitional music is used too liberally, more often calling attention to itself than serving the dramatic tone".
Stick Fly is due to run until 29 January (12).